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Tennessee approved for additional federal unemployment funds

August 25, 2020 GMT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee has received approval for federal funding to augment the amount of money distributed to unemployed people, officials said.

The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development said Monday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved the state’s grant application for the Lost Wages Assistance unemployment benefit.

The $300 benefit will be added to the current maximum state payout of $275. Payments will be retroactive to Aug. 1, the department said. Claimants currently receiving benefits do not need to take action. The state will automatically add the lost wages benefit to their weekly payment.

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On Tuesday, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Jeff McCord said the state received $236 million from FEMA to cover the first three weeks of August.

“This week or early next, we’ll start processing those benefits to be paid,” McCord said. “I do want to make sure that it’s understood that it’s just those three weeks, then we’ll wait and see if we do get another allotment.”

The request was made after the end of a $600-per-week payout under the federal CARES Act, the emergency assistance package for the new coronavirus response.

Unemployment in Tennessee skyrocketed after businesses closed or limited operations amid the virus outbreak.